Baseball Pros Offer Free Youth Clinics to Aspiring Athletes

Jamori Blash shares his tips for success with students Wednesday.
Jamori Blash shares his tips for success with students Wednesday.

It’s great to have a dream, but understanding how to set goals and being deliberate in achieving them are the keys to making that dream a reality, Joel Bellot of the Ball is Life Foundation told students Wednesday at Antilles School.

On island for a series of youth baseball clinics, the Foundation is hosting this weekend at Emile Griffth Ballpark. Bellot and STT native Jamori Blash – who plays for the Auburn Doubledays, a single A minor league affiliate of the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball franchise – have also been engaging students off the field, and sharing some of their own life hacks for professional success.

Antilles School was the first stop for the pair Wednesday, and they offered inspiration in ways the students could understand. Bellot, who has represented the Virgin Islands in youth baseball tournaments around the world, spoke first about retired Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant and his early years being a player no one wanted to pick for their team.

“When Kobe started playing at 12 years old, he was bad. So bad, that he was that guy no one wanted to play on their side,” Bellot said. “But what he did is quantify his goals, and be deliberate with his time. If the average person plays basketball once or twice a week, Kobe thought that playing three hours a day for the next year would put him ahead of the game. By 14, he was better than everyone on the court shooting and by 15, it was game over.”

Asking the students to share their own professional dreams, Bellot and Blash helped pinpoint some real life goals to help them get there.

After that, getting to the top is as easy is doing the “hokey pokey,” Bellot said.

“That means you lean in, do as much as you can and turn your life around,” he added.

Blash, who will be a featured instructor at the Foundation’s weekend clinics, also shared his experiences growing up in Paul M. Pearson Garden, having a son early and now, at 23, doing as much as he can to earn a spot on the Nationals roster. Being away from his family took sacrifice, but understanding how much more he can support them by having a successful full time career is a constant motivation, he said.

The Ball Is Life Foundation kicks off their youth clinics at Emile Griffith Ballpark from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday for boys and girls 12 years and younger. Sunday’s clinic, also from 1 to 4 p.m., is for players between the ages of 13 and 18 and will be held at Kirwan Terrace Ballpark. Both clinics are free, and parents can register their children in advance at form.jotform/ballersinthevi/register.

Blash and his brother, Jabari Blash will be on hand to conduct the clinics, along with Atlanta Braves pitcher Akeel Morris and Oakland A’s starting pitcher Jharel Cotton, among others.